The final game of the weekend was an eventful affair for the South Carolina Stingrays (19-2-3-0) who knocked off the Jacksonville Icemen (8-12-4-0) by a final score of 2-1 to extend their point streak to 11 games in a contest that featured 118 penalty minutes on 25 different infractions Sunday afternoon at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Netminder Logan Thompson earned the win for South Carolina with 26 saves, but his day was cut short after he engaged in a goalie fight with his counterpart, Jacksonville’s Michael McNiven in the third period. Parker Milner came in for the final 12:43 of action and made 12 saves to preserve the victory for the Stingrays.
Forward Cole Ully also had a big day, posting a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” with a goal, an assist and a five-minute fighting major. SC captain Andrew Cherniwchan had the other tally for the Rays early in the first period, his team-leading 11th strike of the season.
South Carolina has won eight of the 11 games during their point streak and is at the top of the South Division standings with 41 points through 24 games and a winning percentage of 0.854.
Cherniwchan’s tally made it 1-0 at 3:21 of the first from Ully and defender Dylan Zink. With the Rays still in their own zone, Zink lifted the puck up high in the air and out to neutral ice, which sprung Cherniwchan free on a rush. The captain used a backhanded shot to beat McNiven and give SC the early lead.
Ully added to the advantage in the third, scoring on a wrist shot from the slot to make it 2-0 at 3:35 of the final period from forward Matthew Weis and defenseman Tariq Hammond.
Not long after Ully’s goal, the physical play began to heat up. At 5:06, forward Mitch Vanderlaan was called for a minor penalty for goaltender interference, which then saw Jacksonville’s Dalton Thrower earn a game misconduct.
Then at 7:17, Jacksonville’s Kyle Shapiro was assessed a slashing penalty that led to four fighting majors. The first two went to Everett Clark of the Icemen and Ully, before McNiven and Thompson squared off.
The Stingrays held on to their 2-0 advantage all the way until the final minute of the game when Jacksonville’s Alexis D’Aoust scored on the power play to make it 2-1 at 19:02. But South Carolina surrendered nothing further as Milner made some last-minute saves before the game went final.
After outshooting the Rays 15-7 in the third period, the Icemen finished with 39 total shots on goal in the game, while SC had 29. D’Aoust’s power play goal was the only man-advantage marker in the contest as the Icemen finished 1-for-5 on the power play and the Stingrays ended at 0-for-7.
McNiven took the loss for Jacksonville, finishing with 23 saves while Adam Carlson came on in relief to stop four shots.
South Carolina’s next contest is on Friday night when they host the Orlando Solar Bears at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum.